Posted January 28, 2020
Living at McCormick, we are fortunate to be close to some of the most fantastic winter playgrounds in the country. If you ski (downhill or cross-country), snowboard, snowshoe, snowmobile, or just want to sit inside a warm mountain lodge by a crackling fire watching the snow fall, you are in luck. All of this can be yours within a short drive of your new home at McCormick!
Crystal Mountain Resort (Crystal), located just 2 hours from McCormick, is Washington’s largest ski area. This resort offers the best skiing, snowboarding, and backcountry terrain in the state. You’ll be able to ski 3100 vertical feet and explore 2600 acres of fun. As of this blog post, Crystal has received 154 inches of powder, including 7 inches in the last 24 hours. When the sun is out, there is no place more gorgeous to get out and enjoy our Northwest winter wonderland than Crystal.
This fantastic ski resort is located next to our state’s tallest peak, Mt. Rainier. When you take 10-minute ride in the enclosed Mt. Rainier Gondola to the summit, you’ll be surprised by breathtaking views of Mt. Rainier and the Cascade mountain range. Even non-skiiers can enjoy this experience. Foot-passengers are welcome to ride the gondola during the winter to take in the scenery and enjoy a wonderful meal at the Summit House.
Never been skiing or snowboarding? Looking to brush up on your old skills? Crystal Mountain offers terrific lessons for all ages and abilities. Check out the programs here https://www.crystalmountainresort.com/lessons-equipment/snowsports-school/.
Are you longing for time in the snow, but not eager to put on the skis? Try snowshoeing. Crystal Mountain has a popular series known as “Snowshoe and Sip”. You can explore the beauty of Crystal Mountain on snowshoes with the help of expert guides, then enjoy a fantastic dinner and beer or wine tasting at the Bullwheel Restaurant. Space is limited, so be sure to sign up early.
Crystal proudly salutes are military members and offers discounts to guests with a valid military ID. Buying lift tickets in advance will save you some $, and kids 10 and under ski free with the purchase of an adult ticket. For directions to Crystal, check out https://www.crystalmountainresort.com/plan-your-trip/getting-here/.
Snoqualmie Summit, just off I-90, can be reached from McCormick in an hour and 45 minutes. The “Summit” offers 4 downhill ski/snowboard areas, 21 chairlifts, 6 magic carpets for beginners to learn, a tubing hill, and a network of over 50km of groomed trails to Nordic ski. Summit Central is the perfect place to learn downhill, while Alpental challenges the best of skiers and boarders with some of the steepest and deepest runs in the region.
Tubing is a fun-filled way to enjoy sliding on the snow, and the Summit’s tubing center offers 20 groomed tubing lands and a covered magic carpet to take you back up to the top. Buy your tickets in advance as it often sells out.
Nordic Skiing (cross-country) is also very popular at the Summit and in nearby sno-parks. The Summit Nordic Center offers lessons for all abilities, and once you are ready to hit the trails they are groomed for you to enjoy. Don’t have the Nordic gear? No worries, they have rentals available.
Be sure to check road conditions on I-90 Snoqualmie Pass before you venture out, and for directions visit https://summitatsnoqualmie.com/directions.
Close to the summit you’ll find a multitude of sno-parks offering some of the best Nordic trails in the Northwest. Just off I-90 on exit 54 you’ll find the Hyak Sno-Park which offers 13km of trails and a groomed sledding hill. Hyak offers access the John Wayne Pioneer Trail, where you can cruise on one of the largest rail-to-trail conversions in the country. Hyak is a non-motorized sno-park. To use the sno-park you’ll need a permit and more details can be found here https://www.snowrec.org/sno-parks-czpx.
Crystal Springs Sno-Park is off I-90 exit 62. Crystal Springs caters to all winter enthusiasts, with 51 miles of trails for snowmobiling, Nordic skiing, and snowshoeing. Even sled dog teams will enjoy this place! Like Hyak, to use the sno-park you will need to get a permit.
Leavenworth is a well-loved European style village nestled in the Cascade mountains between Seattle and Spokane. Over 500,000 colored bulb light up this snowy village from Thanksgiving to Valentine’s weekend.
Entering this scenic village you’ll marvel at the Bavarian architecture, snow-capped mountain tops, and lively festivities that entertain all ages. Leavenworth is well-known for its annual tree-lighting festival, but the fun continues with the Bavarian Icefest January 19-20 and the Timrrr! Winter Musical Festival January 25-26.
Spend a day or a weekend in this gorgeous village. You can shop for hours in the many boutiques, or relax in music-filled beer gardens savoring a pint and enjoying delicious German sausages and pretzels.
Since we’re on the topic of fun in the snow, Leavenworth is a gateway to snow adventures of all kinds in the winter. You can bird watch, dog sled, Nordic ski, sled or tube, snowmobile, snowshoe, ride in horse-drawn sleigh, or downhill ski and snowboard at the local Leavenworth ski hill, nearby Stevens Pass, or Mission Ridge. For information on all of these activities, visit https://leavenworth.org/recreation/ and directions to Leavenworth, https://leavenworth.org/getting-here/.